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Abraham Maslow’s Memoir and Psychological Philosophies

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“Abraham Maslow developed his theory of survival, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization. The theory is described in the Hierarchy of Needs” (Dr. C. George Boeree). Every living creature needs these things to survive, and live a happy and full life. If the basic needs aren’t satisfied, the theory states that one cannot move forward through the other needs to achieve Self-Actualization. People have to start at the beginning and work their way through each level. As you can go up a level, you can also drop down a level as needed. Maslow, creator of this theory, had worked with monkeys, when he noticed that some needs had taken precedence over others. He gave an example, that when one is thirsty and hungry, they will first try to take care of the thirst before moving on to the hunger. Thirst is a bigger priority than hunger, which is why people tend to first go for the most important things.

Abraham Maslow was born April 1, 1908 in Brooklyn, New York. At a younger age, Abraham Maslow was considered mentally unstable, and had difficulties growing up. His parents were also Jewish immigrants from Russia, which made it even harder for Maslow because of the anti-Semitic people in his neighborhood. After high school, he studied law at the City College of New York, however, he did this only to satisfy his parents. His true passion was in psychology. Maslow finally went to follow his dreams, despite his parent’s wishes, and attended the University of Wisconsin. “There, he studied psychology, and received his BA in 1930, his MA in 1931, and his PhD in 1934” (Dr. C. George Boeree). After many years of working in the department of humanistic psychology, Abraham Maslow died from a heart attach on June 8, 1970.

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In Abraham Maslow’s theory of the Hierarchy of Needs, the first level is survival. Survival needs are the most important needs in the hierarchy. The survival needs consist of basic physiological needs, like the need for oxygen, water, food, temperature, sleep, getting rid of wastes, and reproduction. Humans should strive for higher levels in the hierarchy, but animals can live with only these basic needs, although they should also achieve the level of safety. These needs are very important, because the lack of one of them can cause illness or even death. Humans take for granted these basic physiological needs, but they can be taken away from us. To survive, humans and animals need to find ways to satisfy these needs. Even an animals basic instinct, is to find food when it is hungry, go into a warm place when it is cold, etc. A chicken, for example, will cuddle into warmer corners, or seek warmth in other ways, when it is cold. Although it is possible to live off these basic survival needs, most humans and animals need to strive for the next level.

The second level in the hierarchy, are the needs for safety. The safety needs include shelter, stability, freedom from fear and anxiety, protection, structure, order and law. These needs however, don’t apply to all humans and animals. Most animals only need the needs of shelter and protection. For animals, protection refers to protection from predators. Shelter can also be interpreted differently. Each animal species has a specific habitat, which is their shelter. Some animals live in trees, some in the water, and some in deserts. For example, chickens normally live on farms. Shelter, for humans is typically a house, or any place that gives them a roof over their heads.

Abraham Maslow tremendously affected the department of psychology, especially humanistic psychology. Maslow, to this day, is most known for his theory of the Hierarchy of Needs. The theory shows how we can be motivated. His theory also gives us a whole new way on how we think of the importance of everything we have, and everything we do. Also, it can help us understand what it takes to survive, and live a long and happy life. The Hierarchy of Needs can also help us care for animals better, and make sure that they survive in the perfect circumstances, with everything they need. And although it seems that achieving all the levels is not that difficult, “Maslow noted only one in a hundred people become fully self-actualized” (Saul McLeod). Maslow’s legacy lives on to this day, with the important information that he discovered, and his theory of the Hierarchy of Needs.


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